Cassius Dio.

Dio's Rome, Volume 2 An Historical Narrative Originally Composed in Greek During the Reigns of Septimius Severus, Geta and Caracalla, Macrinus, Elagabalus and Alexander Severus; and Now Presented in E online

. (page 8 of 30)
Online LibraryCassius DioDio's Rome, Volume 2 An Historical Narrative Originally Composed in Greek During the Reigns of Septimius Severus, Geta and Caracalla, Macrinus, Elagabalus and Alexander Severus; and Now Presented in E → online text (page 8 of 30)
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whether it was of a favorable or ill-boding nature. Now the cause of
this custom I am unable to state, but I set down the common report.
Accordingly, many persons who wished to obstruct either the proposal of
laws or official appointments that came before the popular assembly were
in the habit of announcing that they would use the divination from the
sky for that day, so that the people could ratify nothing during the
period. Clodius was afraid that if he indicted Cicero some person by
such means might interpose a postponement or delay the trial, and so
introduced measure that no one of the officials should, on the days when
it was necessary for the people to vote on anything, observe the signs
from heaven.

[-14-]Such was the nature of the indictment which he then drew up
against Cicero. The latter understood what was going on and induced
Lucius Ninnius Quadratus, a tribune, to oppose it all: then Clodius, in
fear lest a tumult and delay of some kind should arise as a result,
outwitted him by deceit. He made arrangements with Cicero beforehand to
bring no indictment against him, if he, in turn, would not interfere
with any of the measures under consideration; whereupon, while the
latter and Ninnius were quiet, he secured the passage of the laws, and
next proceeded against the orator. Thus was the latter, who thought
himself extremely wise, deceived on that occasion by Clodius, - if we
ought to say Clodius and not Caesar and his party. For the law that
Clodius proposed after this trick was not on its face enacted against
Cicero (i.e. it did not contain his name), but against all those simply
who put to death or had put to death any citizen without the
condemnation of the populace; yet in fact it was drawn up as strongly as
possible against that one man.

It brought within its scope, indeed, all the senate, because they had
charged the consuls with the protection of the city, by which act it was
permitted the latter to take such steps, and subsequently had voted to
condemn Lentulus and the rest who at that time suffered the death
penalty. Cicero, however, incurred the responsibility alone or most of
all, because he had laid information against them and had each time made
the proposition and put the vote and had finally seen to their execution
by the agents entrusted with such business. For this reason he took
vigorous retaliatory measures, and discarding senatorial dress went
about in the garb of the knights, paying court meanwhile, as he went
back and forth, day and night alike to all who had any influence, not
only of his friends but also of his opponents, and especially to Pompey
and Caesar, inasmuch as they did not show their enmity toward him. [-15-]
In their anxiety not to appear by their own action to have set Clodius
on or to be pleased with his measures, they devised the following way,
which suited them admirably and was obscure to their foe, for deceiving
Cicero. Caesar advised him to yield, for fear he might perish if he
remained where he was: and in order to have it believed the more readily
that he was doing this through good will, he promised that the other
should employ him as helper, so that he might retire from Clodius's path
not with reproach and as if under examination, but in command and with

Pompey, however, turned him aside from this course, calling the act
outright desertion, and uttering insinuations against Caesar to the
effect that through enmity he was not giving sound advice; for his own
counsel, as expressed, was for Cicero to remain and come to the aid of
the senate and himself with outspokenness, and to defend himself
immediately against Clodius: the latter, he declared, would not be able
to accomplish anything with the orator present and confronting him and
would furthermore meet his deserts, and he, Pompey, would coöperate to
this end. After these speeches from them, modeled in such a way not
because the views of the two were opposed, but for the purpose of
deceiving the man without arousing his suspicion, Cicero attached
himself to Pompey. Of him he had no previous suspicion and was
thoroughly confident of being rescued by his assistance. Many men
respected and honored him, for numerous persons in trouble were saved
some from the judges and others from their very accusers. Also, since
Clodius had been a relative of Pompey's and a partner of his campaigns
for a long period, it seemed likely that he would do nothing that failed
to accord with his wishes. As for Gabinius, Cicero expected that he
could count on him absolutely as an adherent, being a good friend of
his, and equally on Piso because of his regard for right and his kinship
with Caesar. [-16-] On the basis of these calculations, then, he hoped to
win (for he was confident beyond reason even as he had been terrified
without investigating), and in fear lest his withdrawal from town should
seem to have been the result of a bad conscience, he paid heed to
Pompey, while stating to Caesar that he was considerably obliged to him.

Thus it came about that the victim of the deceit continued his
preparations to administer a stinging defeat to his enemies. For, in
addition to the encouraging circumstances already mentioned, the knights
in convention sent to the consuls and senate on the Capitol [B.C. 58
(_a.u._ 696)] envoys in his behalf from their own number, and the
senators Quintus Hortensius and Gaius Curio. One of the many ways in
which Ninnius, too, assisted him was to urge the populace to change
their garb, as if for a universal disaster. And many even of the
senators did[42] this and would not change back until the consuls by
edict rebuked them.

The forces of his adversaries were more powerful, however. Clodius would
not allow Ninnius to take any action in his behalf, and Gabinius would
not grant the knights access to the senate; on the contrary, he drove
one of them, who was very insistent, out of the city and chided
Hortensius and Curio for having come before them when they were
assembled and having undertaken the embassy. Moreover Clodius led them
before the populace where they were well thrashed and beaten for their
embassy by some appointed agents. After this Piso, though he seemed well
disposed toward Cicero and had advised him to slip away beforehand on
seeing that it was impossible for him to attain safety by other means,
nevertheless, when the orator took offence at this counsel, came before
the assembly at the first opportunity - he was too feeble most of the
time - and to the question of Clodius as to what opinion he held
regarding the proposed measure said: "No deed of cruelty or sadness
pleases me." Gabinius, too, on being asked the same question, not only
praised Clodius but indulged in invectives against the knights and the

[-17-] Caesar, however (whom since he had taken the field Clodius could
make arbiter of the proposition only by assembling the throng outside
the walls), condemned the lawlessness of the action taken in regard to
Lentulus, but still did not approve the punishment proposed for it.
Every one knew, he said, all that had been in his mind concerning the
events of that time - he had cast his vote for letting the men live - but
it was not fitting for any such law to be drawn up touching events now
past. This was Caesar's statement; Crassus showed some favor to Cicero
through his son but himself took the side of the multitude. Pompey kept
promising the orator assistance, but by making various excuses at
different times and arranging purposely many journeys out of town failed
to defend him.

Cicero seeing this was frightened and again undertook to resort to
arms, - among other things he did was to abuse Pompey openly with
insults - but was prevented by Cato and Hortensius, for fear a civil war
might result. Then at last, against his will, with shame and the
ill-repute of having gone into exile voluntarily, as if
conscience-stricken, he departed. Before leaving he ascended the Capitol
and dedicated a little image of Minerva, whom he styled "protectress."
It was to Sicily that he secretly betook himself. He had once been
governor there, and entertained a lively hope that he would be honored
among its towns and private citizens and by its rulers.

On his departure the law took effect; so far from meeting with any
opposition, it was supported, as soon as he was once out of the way, by
those very persons (among others) who were thought to be the foremost
movers in Cicero's behalf. His property was confiscated, his house was
razed to the ground, as though it had been an enemy's, and its
foundation was dedicated for a temple of Liberty. Upon the orator
himself exile was imposed, and a continued stay in Sicily was forbidden
him: he was banished three thousand seven hundred and fifty stadia[43]
from Rome, and it was further proclaimed that if he should ever appear
within those limits, both he and those who harbored him might be killed
with impunity.

[-18-] He, accordingly, went over to Macedonia and was living in the
depths of grief. But there met him a man named Philiscus, who had made
his acquaintance in Athens and now by chance fell in with him again.

"Are you not ashamed, Cicero," said this person, "to be weeping and
behaving like a woman? Really, I should never have expected that you,
who have partaken of much education of every kind, who have acted as
advocate to many, would grow so faint-hearted."

"Ah," replied the other, "it's not the same thing, Philiscus, to speak
for others as to advise one's own self. The words spoken in others'
behalf, proceeding from a mind that stands erect, undeteriorated, have
the greatest possible effect. But when some affliction overwhelms the
spirit, it is made turbid and dark and can not think out anything
appropriate. Wherefore, I suppose, it has well been said that it is
easier to counsel others than one's self to be strong under suffering."

"Yours is a very human objection," rejoined Philiscus. "I did not think,
however, that you, who have shown so much wisdom and have trained
yourself in so much learning, had failed to prepare yourself for all
human possibilities, so that if any unexpected accident should happen to
you, it would not find you unfortified. Since, notwithstanding, you are
in this plight, why I might benefit you by rehearsing what is good for
you. Thus, just as men who put a hand to people's burdens relieve them,
so I might lighten this misfortune of yours, and the more easily than
they inasmuch as I shall take upon myself the smallest share of it. You
will not deem it unworthy, I trust, to receive some encouragement from
another. If you were sufficient for your own self, we should have no
need of these words. As it is, you are in a like case to Hippocrates or
Democedes or any other of the great physicians, if one of them should
fall a victim to a disease hard to cure and should need another's hand
to bring about his own recovery."

[-19-] "Indeed," said Cicero, "if you have any such train of reasoning
as will dispel this mist from my soul and restore me to the light of
old, I am most ready to listen. For of words, as of drugs, there are
many varieties and diverse potencies, so that it will not be surprising
if you should be able to steep in some mixture of philosophy even me,
the shining light of senate, assembly, and law-courts."

"Come then," continued Philiscus, "since you are ready to listen, let us
consider first whether these conditions that surround you are actually
bad, and next in what way we may cure them. First of all, now, I see you
are in good physical health and quite vigorous, - a state which is by
nature a blessing to mankind, - and next that you have provisions in
sufficiency so as not to hunger or thirst or be cold or endure any other
unpleasant experience through lack of means, a second circumstance which
any one might naturally set down as good for man's nature. For when
one's physical constitution is good and one can live along without worry
every accessory to happiness is enjoyed."

[-20-] To this Cicero replied: "No, not one of such accessories is of
use when some grief is preying upon one's spirit. The reflections of the
soul distress one far more than bodily comforts can cause delight. Even
so I at present set no value on my physical health because I am
suffering in mind, nor yet in the abundance of necessaries; for the
deprivations I have endured are many."

Said the other: "And does this grieve you? Now if you were going to be
in want of things needful, there would be some reason for your being
annoyed at your loss. But since you have all the necessaries in full
measure, why do you harass yourself because you do not possess more? All
that belongs to one beyond one's needs is in excess and its nature is
the same whether present or absent, for you are aware that even formerly
you did not make use of what was not necessary: hence suppose that at
that time the things which you did not need were non-existent or else
that those of which you are not in want are now here. Most of them were
not yours by inheritance that you should be particularly exercised about
them, but were furnished you by your own tongue and by your words, - the
same causes that effected their loss. Accordingly, you should not take
it hard that just as things were acquired, so they have been lost.
Sea-captains are not greatly disturbed when they suffer great reverses.
They understand, I think, how to look at it sensibly, - that the sea
which gives them wealth takes it away again.

[-21-] "This is enough on one point. I think it should be enough for a
man's happiness to possess a sufficiency and to lack nothing that the
body requires, and I hold that everything in excess brings anxieties and
trouble and jealousies. But as for your saying there is no enjoyment in
physical blessings unless one have corresponding spiritual advantages,
the statement is true: it is impossible if the spirit is in poor
condition that the body should fail to partake of the sickness. However,
I think it much easier for one to care for mental than for physical
vigor. The body, being of flesh, contains many paradoxical possibilities
and requires much assistance from the higher power: the intellect, of a
nature more divine, can be easily trained and prompted. Let us look to
this, therefore, to discover what spiritual blessing has abandoned you
and what evil has come upon you that you cannot shake off.

[-22-] "First, then, I see that you are a man of the greatest
intellectual gifts. The proof is that you nearly always persuaded both
the senate and the people in cases where you gave them any advice and
helped private citizens very greatly in cases where you acted as their
advocate. And second that you are a most just man. Indeed you have
contended everywhere for your country and for your friends and have
arrayed yourself against those who plotted against them. Yes, this very
misfortune which you have suffered has befallen you for no other reason
than that you continued to speak and act in everything for the laws and
for the government. Again, that you have attained the highest degree of
temperance is shown by your very habits. It is not possible for a man
who is a slave to sensual pleasures to appear constantly in public and
to go to and fro in the Forum, making his deeds by day witnesses of
those by night. And because this is so I thought you were the bravest of
men, enjoying, as you did, so great strength of intellect, so great
power in speaking. But it seems that you, startled out of yourself by
having failed contrary to your hope and deserts, have been drawn back a
little from the goal of real bravery. This loss, however, you will
recover immediately, and as your circumstances are such, with a good
physical state and a good spiritual, I cannot see what there is to
distress you."

[-23-] At the end of this speech of his Cicero rejoined: - "There seems
to you, then, to be no great evil in dishonor and exile and not living
at home nor being with your friends, but instead being expelled with
violence from your country, existing in a foreign land, and wandering
about with the name of exile, causing laughter to your enemies and
disgrace to your connections."

"Not a trace of evil, so far as I can see," declared Philiscus. "There
are two elements of which we are constituted, - soul and body, - and
definite blessings and evils are given to each of the two by Nature
herself. Now if there should be any failure in these details, it might
properly be considered hurtful and base, but if all should be right it
would be advantageous rather. This, at the outset, is your condition.
Those things which you mentioned, cases of dishonor among them, and
everything else of the sort are disgraceful and evil only through law
and a kind of notion, and work no injury to either body or soul. What
body could you cite that has fallen sick or perished and what spirit
that has grown wickeder or even more ignorant through dishonor and exile
and anything of that sort? I see none. And the reason is that no one of
these accidents is by nature evil, just as neither honorable position
nor residence in one's country is by nature excellent, but whatever
opinion each one of us holds about them, such they seem to be. For
instance, mankind do not universally apply the term 'dishonor' to the
same conditions, but certain deeds which are reprehensible in some
regions are praised in others and various actions honored by this people
are punishable by that. Some do not so much as know the name, nor the
fact which it implies. This is quite natural. For whatever does not
touch what belongs to man's nature is thought to have no bearing upon
him. Just exactly as it would be most ridiculous, surely, if some
judgment or decree were delivered that so-and-so is sick or so-and-so is
base, so does the case stand regarding dishonor.

[-24-] "The same thing I find to be true in regard to exile. Living
abroad is somehow in a way dishonorable, so that if dishonor pure and
simple contains no evil, surely an evil reputation can not be attached
to exile either. You know at any rate that many live abroad the longest
possible time, some unwillingly and others willingly; and some even
spend their whole life traveling about, just as if they were expelled
from every place: and yet they do not regard themselves as being injured
in doing so. It makes no difference whether a man does it voluntarily or
not. The person who trains unwillingly gets no less strong than he who
is willing about it, and the person who navigates unwillingly obtains no
less benefit than the other. And as for this very element of
unwillingness, I do not see how it can encounter a man of sense. If the
difference between being well and badly off is that some things we
readily volunteer to do and others we are unwilling and grudge to
perform, the trouble can be easily mended. For if We endure willingly
all necessary things and show the white feather before none of them, all
those matters in which one might assume unwillingness have been
abolished. There is, indeed, an old saying and a very good one, to the
effect that we ought not to think it requisite for whatever we wish to
come to pass, but to wish for whatever does come to pass as the result
of any necessity. We neither have free choice in our course of life nor
is it on ourselves that we are dependent; but according as it may suit
Fortune, and according to the character of the Divinity granted each one
of us for the fulfillment of what is ordained, must we also regard our

[-25-] "Such is the nature of the case whether we like it or not. If,
now, it is not mere dishonor or mere exile that troubles you, but the
fact that not only without having done your country any hurt, but after
having benefited her greatly you were dishonored and expelled, look at
it in this way, - that once it was destined for you to have such an
experience, it has been the noblest and the best fortune that could
befall you to be despitefully used without having committed any wrong.
You advised and performed all that was proper for the citizens, not as
individual but as consul, not meddling officiously in a private capacity
but obeying the decree of the senate, not as a party measure but for the
best ends. This or that other person, on the contrary, out of his
superior power and insolence had devised everything against you,
wherefore disasters and grief belong to him for his injustice, but for
you it is noble as well as necessary to bear bravely what the Divinity
has determined. Surely you would not have preferred to coöperate with
Catiline and to conspire with Lentulus, to give your country the exact
opposite of advantageous counsel, to discharge none of the duties laid
upon you by it, and thus to remain at home under a burden of wickedness
instead of displaying uprightness and being exiled. Accordingly, if you
have any care for reputation, it is far preferable for you to have been
driven out, guilty of no wrong, than to have remained at home by
executing some villainy; for, among other considerations, shame attaches
to the men who have unjustly cast one forth, but not to the man who is
wantonly expelled.

[-26-] "Moreover, the story as I heard it was that you did not depart
unwillingly nor after conviction, but of your own accord; that you hated
to live with them, seeing that you could not make them better and would
not endure to perish with them, and that you were exiled not from your
country but from those who were plotting against her. Consequently they
would be the ones dishonored and banished, having cast out all that is
good from their souls, but you would be honored and fortunate, as being
nobody's slave in unseemly fashion and possessing all fitting qualities,
whether you choose to live in Sicily, in Macedonia, or anywhere else in
the world. Surely it is not localities that give either good fortune or
unhappiness of any sort, but each man makes for himself both country and
happiness always and everywhere. This is what Camillus had in mind when
he was glad to dwell in Ardea; this is the way Scipio reckoned when he
lived his life out without grieving in Liternum. What need is there to
mention Aristides or to cite Themistocles, men whom exile rendered more
esteemed, or Anni[44] ... or Solon, who of his own accord left home for
ten years?

"Therefore do you likewise cease to consider irksome any such thing as
pertains neither to our physical nor to our spiritual nature, and do not
vex yourself at what has happened. For to us belongs no choice as I told
you, of living as we please, but it is quite requisite for us to endure
what the Divinity determines. If we do this voluntarily, we shall not be
grieved: if involuntarily, we shall not escape at all what is fated and
we shall lay upon ourselves besides the greatest of ills, - distressing
our hearts to no purpose. The proof of it is that men who bear
good-naturedly the most outrageous fortunes do not regard themselves as
being in any very dreadful circumstances, while those that are disturbed
at the lightest disappointments feel as if all human ills were theirs.
And, among people in general, some who handle fair conditions badly and
others who handle unfavorable conditions well make their good or ill
fortune appear even in the eyes of others to be of precisely the same
nature as they figure it to themselves. [-27-] Bear this in mind, then,
and be not cast down by your present state, nor grieve if you learn that
the men who exiled you are flourishing. In general the successes of men
are vain and ephemeral, and the higher a man climbs as a result of them
the more easily, like a breath, does he fall, especially in partisan
conflicts. Borne along in a tumultuous and unstable medium they differ
little, or rather not at all, from ships in a storm, but are carried up
and then down, now hither, now yon; and if they make the slightest
error, they sink altogether. Not to mention Drusus or Scipio or the
Gracchi or some others, remember how Camillus the exile later came off
better than Capitolinus, and remember how much Aristides subsequently
surpassed Themistocles.

"Do you, then, as well, entertain a strong hope that you will be
restored; for you have not been expelled on account of wrong doing, and
the very ones who drove you forth will, as I take it, seek for you,
while all will miss you. [-28-] But if you continue in your present
state, - as give yourself no care about it, even so. For if you lean to
my way of thinking you will be quite satisfied to pick out a little
estate on the coast and there carry on at the same time farming and some

Online LibraryCassius DioDio's Rome, Volume 2 An Historical Narrative Originally Composed in Greek During the Reigns of Septimius Severus, Geta and Caracalla, Macrinus, Elagabalus and Alexander Severus; and Now Presented in E → online text (page 8 of 30)